I have received a number of inquires asking whether ESXi can be installed on the latest 2014 Apple Mac Mini 7,1. Unfortunately, some early reports have indicated issues trying to get the latest version of ESXi installed on the Mac Mini and the results are also the same using old releases of ESXi as well. As of right now, VMware Engineering is unable to comment on the issue until they can get their hands on a the latest Mac Mini in house for investigation. If you happen to own the latest Mac Mini and live in the Bay Area and wish to help expedite the process by donating your system for testing, feel free to drop me a note. I will update this blog with new findings as they are made available regarding ESXi and the new Mac Mini's. The answer is yes, you can install the latest release of ESXi 5.5 Update 2 Patch03 and to be able to get the SATA HDD to show up, you will need to install a custom VIB shown below.
UPDATE 3 (11/7) – For those just wanting the latest ESXi 5.5 Update 2 Patch03 + SATA VIB ISO, I have created ESXi-5.5u2p03-MacMini-7-1-HDD.iso that you can just download and install.
UPDATE 2 (11/6) – Thanks to one of our CPD Engineers Charles Monnett, we now have a way for ESXi to detect the HDD located in the new Apple Mac Mini 7,1. It turns out there was a new SATA controller that is being used for the HDD and because it's PCI ID (8086:9c03) was unknown, it was not being claimed by the AHCI driver. Once this was added to the driver map files, ESXi could now see the second drive. Of course, I wanted to simplify this for end users, so I have built a new VIB called vghetto-apple-macmini71-hdd.vib that needs to be installed which can be done by using the following command:
esxcli software vib install -v /vghetto-apple-macmini71-hdd.vib -f
Once the VIB has been installed, go ahead reboot for the changes to take affect. We can now run the following command on the ESXi Shell to confirm that we now see both the SSD and HDD disk OR we can do so using the vSphere C# Client:
esxcli storage core device list
UPDATE 1 (11/5) – It looks like an internal team was able to get their hands on the latest Mac Mini 7,1 and using the latest ESXi 5.5 Update 2 Patch03 image, they were successfully able to install ESXi, however it only recognized the internal SSD (Samsung based) and not the Fusion drive. This will need to be further investigated on why the other device is not being claimed but it looks like as of now, you can at least get stock ESXi installed and use the SSD.
In the mean time, if you are looking to purchase a Mac Mini to run ESXi, I would highly recommend you take a look at some of the platform changes here and here before deciding to purchase. The most significant change in my opinion is the removal of user replaceable memory with soldered in memory! This means that you will NOT be able to upgrade the units after purchasing and you will need to max out the configuration during the initial purchase with Apple. This is one of the unfortunate changes to the Mac Mini platform and I personally would recommend looking at the last release of the Mac Mini's (Late 2012) which will provide the most bang for the buck. For the old Mac Mini's you will most likely have to look on eBay or even Amazon as they are no longer sold by Apple or their retailers.
Disclaimer: Running ESXi on an Apple Mac Mini is not officially supported by VMware, please use at your own risk